Finally some edible Chinese food in west LA! Northern Cafe is run by Chef Betty Ren, who also has Dumpling House in Arcadia, Golden House in Temple City, China Tasty in Alhambra, and two other Northern Cafe locations.
Replacing the old, dated Mongols' with a freshly spruced up, surprisingly appealing interior, Northern Cafe is barely average by 626 standards... but even indifferent SGV food placed in Westwood is a massive quality jump compared to all the other crap around here.
Cold cucumber and cold sliced beef appetizers were so-so but the best on the westside, the beef rolls were mini sized, too much sweetish hoisin sauce? Dan dan mein was a complete fail, no spice at all. So sad. The dumplings were pretty decent tho, and sad to say, but this still the best Chinese food on the westside. Prices aren't too bad either.
Dinner the next day at North Italia's Irvine location with Tiff.
Delicious red sangria, with strawberry puree that actually made it pretty good-- if different. Chicken parm was quite good, as was the bolognese-- handmade noodles, and you could tell it was straight cheese and butter in the parm. It may be a chain Italian place, but it's a trendy, modern, tasty one.